Fellow Wrestling Officials,
Welcome to another year of wrestling. As in the past, my hope is that we are all on the same page and making calls the same across the state. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have. If I can’t answer them, I’ll do my best to find someone who can.
As we start this new year, there are a few items that we need to address. First of all, the concussion rule. We have a ruling from John Miller and the WIAA that we all need to follow. Here is the procedure we are to follow:
If you see a wrestler take a blow to the head and you are concerned about it, stop the match and call the head coach out onto the mat with you. Explain to him exactly what you saw. How did the blow occur and what did you see afterwords.
Describe to the coach exactly what you observed the athlete do. ie, staggering, lack of coordination, dizziness etc.
Just tell the coach what you saw. THEN start the injury clock and get out of the way. It is the responsibility of the coach to determine if the wrestler will continue or not. It is NOT our responsibility to make that decision. If the coach says the wrestler may continue, we will restart the match. At any time after that, if you see something that concerns you, stop the match again, call the coach out onto the mat and explain what you saw. Start the injury clock and step aside. This will be the second time out and the opposing wrestler will get choice. If the coach says the wrestler may continue, we will again restart the match. If you still see something that bothers you, you have the right to stop it again, at which time the wrestler will be disqualified due to a third injury time out. This is the directive I received from the WIAA this year and we all need to follow it.
Secondly, the crossing of the headgear straps. I have received questions from several associations concerning this issue. I think part of the confusion comes from a couple of years ago at the state tournament when Mr. Meyerhoff made an administrative decision that we would not enforce it at that tournament due to how it had been called differently across the state. He made a one time exception for that tournament only.
The rule book says on page 16,Rule 4.5… “The uniform shall be worn as intended/designed by the manufacturer.” John Miller of the WIAA interprets this to mean there would be no tape at all on the uniform and/or headgear or that the straps of either will be crossed. Until we hear differently, we all need to call this the same. I would suggest that you cover this rule clearly at your pre-meet talk. Tell the coach and wrestlers that we will penalize any wrestler that comes onto the mat with either tape on the headgear or the straps crossed. Be firm but courteous and enforce the rule.
Thirdly, the shoe laces. The book says,Rule 4.3… “…they shall be secured in an acceptable fashion.” Neither the rule book nor case book specifies what an acceptable fashion looks like. If they do not come untied, they must have been secured in an acceptable fashion. If they do come loose, it must not have been acceptable and I will penalize unless I can see a locking device that has failed. If the shoes come with a device intended to secure the laces and that device fails, it is treated like any other legal equipment that becomes illegal during use. Call a referee’s time-out, fix it and move on. If there is no device on the shoes for this purpose and they come untied, we would penalize. Until we hear differently, this is how I would suggest we all call it.
The final issue we need to be fully aware of is how to call the new rule on stalling. The rule states that on the third penalty for stalling, the opposing wrestler will not only receive two points, but will also be given choice at the next restart. It is important to understand that the first two penalties did NOT have to be for stalling. The choice is given if the two point penalty is for stalling. The first two penalties could have been for any infraction. Please read the case book, page 52, 7.6.2 SITUATION B.
It is also important to understand that this choice does not carry over from the regulation match to the overtime. BUT, if it happens in the overtime, it will be enforced at the next restart. Please read both the rule and case books carefully and discuss this issue at your next association meeting.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope you all have your best year ever.